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Expeditions

2019 Expeditions

Expedition of the Year
The Complete Columbias Traverse
Alex Heathcott

The Complete Columbias Traverse is a 700 km long ski mountaineering traverse along the spine of the Columbia Mountains. The traverse crosses through all the major Canadian subranges of the Columbia Mountains (Purcells, Selkirks, Monashees and Cariboos) and links up four of the classic Grand Traverses of these subranges. The route begins in the southern Purcells and ends in the northern Cariboos. The route travels through complex terrain that will pose navigational challenges as it varies with weather and snowpack. Throughout the trip, Alex and his small team will cross the highway three times, and otherwise be entirely in remote backcountry areas. Their objective is to become the first group to complete a self-propelled ski traverse of the entire Canadian Columbia Mountain Range.

Major Grant
Jawdrop

Robin Beech

This project will explore and record cave features of the alpine karst landscape in the Badshot Range of British Columbia's West Kootenays including the spectacular Jawdrop Cave.  The area is the mountain range north of the town of Howser between the Trout and Duncan Lake drainages. Further exploration of the cave entrances recorded on the 2017-2018 trips requires considerable rope rigging and caving gear.  A team of five to six and gear will be transported by helicopter to an alpine base camp to pursue exploration of cave systems for up to seven days. While on site, Robin Beech's team will also install bat monitors collect soil samples and conduct alpine flora and bee surveys for researchers if funding supports.

Major Grant
Boreal to Barren Lands: Traversing Labrador

David Greene

The team will traverse 840 km of Labrador and Quebec interior from west to east via 5 rivers over the course of 35 days during the summer of 2019. The key objective of this expedition is to gain a geographic and environmental perspective of one of Canada’s last remaining wilderness frontiers and become the first modern day team to connect the westernmost and northernmost communities of Labrador. As part of the expedition the journey will be documented through film and photography to produce a documentary that will be submitted to film festivals, as well as be promoted through social media platforms, sponsors and public presentations. In doing so, the expedition will highlight and pay homage to the travelers who have paddled and portaged these waterways before such as the Naskapi and Montagnais Innu people who have used these lands for generations as ancestral hunting grounds. The team will follow in the footsteps of the historical explorers, A.P. Low and William Cabot and modern explorers Herb Pohl, Pat Lewtas, Al Stirt and Jerry Kobolanko who have traveled these lands, known to few, through their exploration.

Seed Grant
The Secret Coast

Jacqueline Windh

The expedition is a one-month hiking and open ocean kayaking trip of the West coast of Vancouver Island.  The area lies between Rugged Point (western entrance to Kyuquot Sound) to Tofino.  Access to the starting point is by float plane. There is no road access anywhere along the route other than the finish point.

The outer coast of Vancouver Island is known today as a wild and mostly inaccessible region of rugged and spectacular beauty - home to wild wolves, bears, whales and eagles. However, few Canadians know that these remote and mostly uninhabited shores were once the most visited region in the western part of what is now Canada.

The expedition's objective is a continuous voyage along this wild and mostly uninhabited coast visiting the sites where historic events occurred and documenting the journey and our discoveries in words and photographs.

They will visit remote, but historically significant, locations relating to first Native/non-Native contacts on this coast, dating from the period 1774-1811, meet with the few Nuu-chah-nulth who still live on the outer coast and integrate their oral histories with written records, research and publish a photographic book that documents our findings.

Women's Expedition
Between Sunsets: A Woman's Solo Venture Across Canada
Melanie Vogel

On June 2nd, 2017, Melanie Vogel set out to solo thru-hike 18,000 km across Canada from the Atlantic to the Arctic to the Pacific Ocean on the Great Trail. Her long-distance hike started in Cape Spear, Newfoundland the most easterly point of Canada and will lead her trough all ten Canadian provinces and two of the three territories to finish in Victoria on Vancouver Island in 2020. Her expedition takes her through maritime terrain, boreal forests, along the Great Lakes, the Canadian prairies, the Rocky Mountains and into the tundra and permafrost as she goes north to the Arctic. Melanie has already covered six provinces and more than 8000 km. With her choice of walking this huge country, the German born and raised adventurer is embracing Canada, to better connect to the land, its people, nature and herself. As an ambassador for the Great Trail she ultimately wants to inspire people to get outside and discover trails in their backyard and by doing so find the connection back to nature.

Indigenous Expedition
Nanikana, The Path of My Ancestors
Benoit Croteau

Nanikana is the true Algonquin name of the Harricana River. Benoit Croteau is Anishinabe of Pikogan and from July 15 to August 6, 2019, he will sail on the waters of Harricana to know the road of his ancestors. His grandfather travelled it in part to go to his trap territory, as well as his ancestors. Many of the descendants of Pikogan have Cree roots from Waska Anish and it is the Harricana River that is the "link" between these communities. Mr. Croteau will travel with his daughter Anishinabe and her Algonquin mother Attikamek until Joutel and then go alone to Hanna Bay .

Flag Expedition
Lucania - A Frigid First... Take Two
Pascale Marceau

The 2019 expedition was the duo’s second attempt to complete the first winter ascent of Mount Lucania (5,226m), Canada’s third tallest peak. Due to adverse conditions the team of Pascale Marceau and Lonnie DuPre redirected to the nearby Mount Wood (4,860 m) where on March 11 after two summit attempts, they successfully made the first winter ascent of the sixth highest mountain in Canada. 

Flag Expedition
Baffin Paddle/Climb Expedition
Bronwyn Hodgins

The expedition will blend modern alpine big wall climbing and adventurous whitewater paddling with an important and meaningful community project.   There are 3 goals: 1. To make first ascents on Mt Thor and Mt Asgard in Auyuittuk National Park, Baffin Island. Both will be attempted in fast and light, alpine style with a focus on free climbing, making essential use of the Pod (a 3lb inflatable portaledge).  2. To make the third descent of the Weasel river and the first paddle/climb expedition to the Park. 3. To engage with the Pangnirtung community, especially the youth, through fun climbing-related activities. Through hands-on involvement with this facility and a slideshow presentation of our trip upon return, we aim to inspire Inuit youth and create lasting positive relations between expeditioners and locals in the remote town.

Flag Expedition
Project NWP (NWP = Northwest Passage)
René Ritter

This solo expedition is scheduled for April 10, 2019 starting in Kugluktuk, Nunavut and concluding in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. The expedition will retrace a section of the historic Northwest Passage and will be the first leg of a three-year journey to travel the entire NWP solo (see attached file). René intend to travel the first section of the NWP primarily by ski (pulling 2 pulks) but will also kite ski when conditions are favourable. He anticipates finishing the first leg of this journey – 450 km -  in 20 days, depending on ice and weather conditions. Travelling with him will be a Canadian Inuit Dog, who will serve as a companion and also alert to bear activity. What sets this expedition apart is that he will connect with elementary school children in other parts of Canada via social media, as well as through a blog that will detail all aspects of the journey.

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